We want to congratulate Jay Schneiderman and the members of the Southampton Town Board for adopting a resolution on January 25 that defines antisemitism, as set forth by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and embraced by a growing number of municipalities locally and around the country, as well as 40 foreign nations and multinational bodies [“Town Board Unanimously Adopts Tool To Combat Antisemitism,” 27east.com, February 1].
It has often been said that Jews are the “canaries in the coal mine.” Growing antisemitism at home and abroad should be a wakeup call for all those who value human rights and diversity.
Antisemitism poses a threat not only to the Jewish people but to all those who are considered to be “others” by the governing class. Authoritarian movements are growing, including in our country, and threaten our democratic, free society, as well as endanger the lives of all those who are seen as different and threatening to the class in power.
The rise in antisemitism cannot be attributed to any one political party. People on both the left and the right of the political spectrum, as well as Muslim extremists, often couch their antisemitism in terms of collective responsibility for the actions of the state of Israel. Such criticism on its face is not antisemitism, any more than the peaceful criticism of our own government is treason.
But when peeled back, like an onion, those criticisms lay bare the ugly truth: that these criticisms are based on longstanding malicious stereotypes and tropes, including that Jews control the media, finance and government, that American Jews have dual loyalties, that Israel is an apartheid country, that the Holocaust was a hoax and Israel does not have a right to exist.
Adoption of a clear-cut definition of antisemitism is the first step to confronting this growing threat. But it is merely a tool. The real work is ahead of us, in educating the public about antisemitism and all forms of racism, bigotry and hate.
Please join us in helping to make Long Island a welcoming and safe place for all people, regardless of their race, ethnicity, color or religion.
Andrea and Ronald Klausner
Andrea Klausner is vice-chair of the Southampton Democratic Committee, a member of the Southampton Anti-Bias Task Force and co-chair of the Social Justice Committee of Temple Adas Israel of Sag Harbor; Ron Klausner is a board member of the Long Island Region of the American Jewish Committee, a member of the Southampton Democratic Committee and co-president of Temple Adas Israel of Sag Harbor — Ed.
One fine body…